Cairns takes whole-of-council approach to climate change

A north Queensland council has taken a giant step to addressing climate change through a five-year strategy that includes funding for sustainable community projects.

According to Cairns Regional Council’s initiative – Climate Change Strategy 2010/2015 – the plan will present a clear direction in addressing the affects of climate change for the next five years.

The Strategy will see the council using renewable energy; adopting sustainable design guidelines for council buildings; developing a sustainable transport plan; and, initiating a grant program to support community projects promoting sustainability.

Mayor Val Schier said its strategy had the potential to affect every aspect of the organisation’s operations and impact the quality of life for the community.

“It is now well documented through scientific evidence that climate change is affecting our region. We want to be well-prepared and be flexible in our methods and approach,” Cr Schier said.

“The strategy we have come up with has clearly defined vision, scope and objectives. It draws together and builds on Council’s existing policies and projects in relation to climate change to achieve a unified and broad approach to leading the community’s response.”

The strategy includes target achievements, action plans and methodology to reduce emissions by 50 per cent and become carbon neutral by 2020 increase community awareness through engagement and partnerships and increase resilience to climate change and peak oil impacts.

“To carry out the strategy the council will be required to allocate financial and human resources,” Cr Schier said.

Regular monitoring and reporting will be part of the process on an annual basis.

“Council will integrate the strategy into its decision making and operational processes. Preparing for the effects of climate change and ways to mitigate that change will become embedded in Council’s ethos.”

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